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Training Partner Network launched in Mexico and Bhutan

CSF is launching its Training Partner Network as part of our Conservation Economics Initiative to bring economics training to more conservation professionals around the world.  This effort is made possible thanks to a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

One of the cornerstones of the Initiative is a network of CSF Training Partner organizations offering conservation economics training in parts of the world where we do not have our own training teams.  The Network will be supported by CSF and by our academic partners throughout the globe.

CSF awarded $100,000 from Handsel Foundation for work in Africa

CSF was recently awarded $100,000 to expand our trainings, analyses, collaborative field work in Africa, thanks to the generosity of the Handsel Foundation.

Leopards, Tigers and Bears - A Work in Progress

There’s one park in the Kingdom of Bhutan where the ranges of the Royal Bengal Tiger, the snow leopard and Himalayan black bear overlap and where communities have lived in harmony with nature for hundreds of years. A trekker’s paradise, Jigme Dorji National Park is also known for it’s astounding biodiversity, breathtaking alpine meadows and majestic snow-capped mountains. But, until recently, it was missing one thing: proper campsites.

Forestry Officer Lhendup Tharchen, a 2010 graduate of a CSF course offered in collaboration with the Ugyen Wangchuk Institute for Conservation and Environment, wanted to know whether campsites inside the park could provide revenue to locals, as well as defray management costs. So he broke out his spreadsheets and ran the numbers.

Game Theory Goes Native

Game theory emerged in the 1940’s as a math-driven, esoteric science of how people alternately cooperate and compete to get what they want. It’s been used in business, diplomacy and military strategies and won famed Princeton economist John Nash the Nobel Prize in 1994. Now, far from the halls of academia and the corridors of power, it’s also being used to conserve nature.

Numbers for Nature in Peru

Fernando León is a business school graduate most commonly seen in suit and tie. He’s also one of Peru’s most successful conservationists. His country has tropical forests covering an area the size of California, a coastline rich in marine life, and protected cultural marvels like Machu Picchu. A veteran of years working in the government, he was frustrated by the meager funding allocated to protecting the country’s natural heritage.

Wild Chocolate

We found this long bridge that connected a rainforest community and consumers in the city,” says Alfonso Malky. “It was made of chocolate.”

In 2011, CSF’s Malky discovered a complex, but promising web of connections between economics, the environment, and the human condition when he created a market study for the Bolivian chocolate company Selva Cacao (“Jungle Chocolate”).

This story starts millions of years ago with the emergence of the cacao tree in South America’s rainforests. It was domesticated thousands of years ago and is now grown in vast plantations throughout the tropics. The stuff Selva Cacao uses, however, is still from wild trees in the Amazon Basin of Bolivia.

Brazil's Fernando de Noronha Park

From Acadia to Zion, Big Bend to Yosemite, U.S. citizens take them for granted: signs and stairs, benches and bathrooms. Invisible as it may be, infrastructure is key to a park’s value proposition. Visitors willingly pay for a park experience that includes beauty, awe, and a few safeguards and conveniences. And people will defend what they love, which is why we wanted to help them get to know, and love, the Fernando de Noronha National Marine Park.

15-year Report

The Road Less Traveled: BR-319

When it comes to the math of improving one of the world’s most controversial roads, it’s important to include all the numbers. In 2009, powerful government officials lobbied for the paving of BR-319, a nearly impassable, 500-mile route through Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. The road was opened by the country’s military rulers in the 1970’s but soon abandoned for lack of use. Supporters of the plan to reopen it claimed that the road would bring economic opportunities to isolated communities as sure as downpours came from the Amazonian sky. But CSF’S study showed the numbers don’t begin to add up. In fact, they’re not even close. To this day, BR-319, which if blacktopped, could have an environmental ripple effect on the world, remains tangled in luxuriant jungle.

Watch this Video on Roads and Rain Forests

That roads cause deforestation has been known for decades, documented in scholarly and anecdotal accounts. But this outstanding video from roadfree.org may be the most effective telling of this roads-and-forests story yet! Watch it. If you care about nature and have a sense of humor you'll want to laugh and cry at the same time.

Roadlessness was at the center of policy battles over US public lands in the 1990s.  Now it's gaining some traction in the tropics, where the advance of roads has fragmented nature into smaller and smaller bits, condemning certain species, especially large predators, as well as indigenous cultures that depend on not having contact with the modern world. 

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